A group of researchers have developed a display that takes a spheric form and gives users the ability to view and interact with three-dimensional objects.
The display, dubbed Spheree, is the first of its kind that can show uniform, high resolution pixels on a spherical surface, and it lets people use gestures to interact with the display objects, according to Discovery News. The team consisted of researchers from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil and the University of British Columbia, Canada.
The researchers showed off the device at last week's SIGGRAPH 2014 convention in Vancouver, providing a Snow Globe 3-D animation that featured a house, animated snow and a train that moved around the house.
Multiple projectors are used in Spheree to shine the images on the interior surface of the device, CNET reported. The team also designed special software that blends the projector images together into one continuous image.
The view in Spheree is designed to follow the user wherever they are around the device so that they see the image as they move around, without it appearing distorted. This is accomplished with help from infrared cameras that track a headband worn by the viewer.
"The calibration algorithm we developed allows for as many projectors as needed or virtually any size of sphere, providing a linear scalability cost for higher-resolution spherical displays," the team wrote. "Spheree does not have any seams or blind spots, therefore rendered scenes are not occluded and the display can support stereo 3-D experiences."
Because small pico-projectors have lower brightness and resolution than traditional projectors, the researchers used an auto-calibration algorithm called FastFusion to combine the project images' resolution and brightness without the quality decreasing, Discovery News reported. The team uses a basic webcam to make sure the algorithm can see the position of each individual image on the globe and evaluate how they contribute to the final image.
Gesture control, along with a Leap Motion interface, is used to let users interact with the animations. Viewers can use gestures to start, move forward and backward, stop, and pause animations and 3-D scenes.
A second computer connected to Spheree is used to provide gesture control with help from Blender software, CNET reported.
Two versions of the Spheree, an 18-centimeter display and a 51-centimeter display, were demonstrated at last week's event.
The team believes Spheree could be used in the future by animators and modelers, perhaps by showing them 3-D computer animations on a second screen, Discovery News reported. The technology could provide walk-around experiences for projects, and could also be used for interactive museum displays or for video games.